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Concert Review

Metric — SXSW

Metric

SXSW

[Last Gang Records]

By toksala

March 22, 2010

From Indie Darlings to Rock Stars

The catchy Canadian foursome continue a triumphant stadium tour

Last time I checked Metric was a relatively underground Canadian band.  But, according to the Bay-area girl dressed more appropriately for the front row of a New York Fashion Week Marc Jacobs show than to stand in front of me in the line for their show at Stubbs, I need to “get with it.”

I mean, sure, I downloaded Fantasies and rocked out in my car to “Help I’m Alive,” but good lord, you would have thought they were the f*$king Rolling Stones with this type of reception.

In case you, like me, are not fully “with it,” Metric is an indie rock band with insanely catchy pop songs that sit somewhere between straight-out rock, new wave and modern dance rock.  Vocalist Emily Haines has become a star on many different levels — fronting Metric, singing for fellow big-name indie-rockers The Broken Social Scene, and miraculously finding time between those two gigs to pursue a solo project, Emily Haines and the Soft Skeleton.  The masterminds behind Metric are Haines and fellow songwriter/guitarist James Shaw — also a Broken Social Scene member.  They are both now clearly aware of their star status and put on a show that would more than reflect that.

When Haines hit the stage in a little, backless sequined number (which would prove to be quite blinding every time the excessive mega-stadium lights hit her), an impressively loud and echoing “Youu ROCK Emilyyy!!!” boomed through the crowd.  Haines responded with a huge grin.

It must be nice to be Emily Haines right now.

Emily Haines of Metric at the keyboard

The majority of the set included songs from Metric’s last album, the incredibly radio-friendly Fantasies. But Haines would also honor “our [Canada’s] greatest export, Neil Young” with a quick cover of “My My, Hey Hey.”

As the band moved through the set list, Haines’s vocals really stood out.  It’s difficult to sing live, period, much less in front of thousands of people…and Haines managed to hit every note, as well as add some additional, equally impressive, vocal improvisations.  Throughout the night Haines would also slap on a guitar (strap bedecked with skulls), sit/stand at a keyboard, and prance around with a tambourine.

But the one thing I will now forever associate with Emily Haines was her weird-ass dancing.  She first busted out what I’ve dubbed “the Frankenstein,” then “the half-robot,” then came all the skipping and twirling.  Last, but certainly not least, there was more fist pumping than there was on every episode of The Jersey Shore combined.  I have no words.

Metric ended their set amidst the flashing lights and enormous crowd with the eerily appropriate “Stadium Love.”  Soon enough our beloved little Canadian indie band will be drowning in that special sort of love.

– Molly Wardlaw

Metric at SXSW 2010

FULL SXSW COVERAGE: We went! We saw! We reviewed and slideshowed and interviewed! Some SUCKED! Some ROCKED! GO HERE!!

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